The Library of Virginia Newsletter
November 2011

Boggs, Skloot, and Graber Receive Literary Awards

The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce the winners of the 14th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards, sponsored by Dominion. The October 15 awards celebration was hosted by award-winning Virginia author Adriana Trigiani. Awards categories were fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and literary lifetime achievement. Winners of the Library of Virginia's Annual Literary Awards receive a $3,500 prize and a handsome engraved crystal book.

Belle Boggs is the recipient of the Emyl Jenkins Sexton Literary Award for Fiction for Mattaponi Queen: Stories, which the judges felt presented strongly imagined narratives set in a distinctive but changing Virginia. Writing with candor, affection, and poetic eloquence, Boggs celebrates a cast of recurring and empathetic characters who inhabit their region and community as people who permit one another to embrace themselves for who they are.

Boggs was born in Richmond and grew up in King William County and now lives in Chatham County, North Carolina. Her parents live in Walkerton, Virginia, a town of fewer than 100 people on Virginia's Middle Peninsula. Boggs received an MFA in fiction from the University of California at Irvine. She is both a writer and a high school teacher. Mattaponi Queen, which also won the Bakeless Prize, is her debut collection of short stories.

The other finalists for the fiction prize were: Compass Rose by John Casey and Ford County by John Grisham. Compass Rose is the sequel to Casey's National Book Award-winning Spartina. It concludes his complex and sensitive exploration of the society and ecosystem of a coastal Rhode Island community living in the constant presence of the sea-part sustainer and part destroyer. Ford County by John Grisham is a collection of seven stories that evoke the tradition of Southern tall tale-telling. The work reflects the talent and humor of a skilled storyteller.

The winner of the 2011 Literary Award for Nonfiction is Rebecca Skloot for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Skloot draws from more than a thousand interviews and extensive scientific and historical research to present the remarkable story of Henrietta Lacks and the "HeLa" cells that were harvested after her cancer diagnosis. Skloot tells the complex story with sensitivity while portraying a tragic, heroic, and disturbing account of science and family in clear and readable prose.

Skloot is an award-winning science writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; and many other publications. She specializes in narrative science writing and has worked as a correspondent for WNYC's Radiolab and PBS's Nova ScienceNOW. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Skloot's debut book, took more than a decade to research and write, and was a New York Times best-seller. It won the Heartland Prize for Nonfiction from the Chicago Tribune and was named the Best Book of 2010 by

The other nonfiction finalists were: To Serve the Living: Funeral Directors and the African American Way of Death by Suzanne E. Smith and Bible Babel: Making Sense of the Most Talked About Book of All Time by Kristin Swenson. Original and fascinating, To Serve the Living opens with the dramatic story of social tension, lynching, and personal heroism in Georgia in the 1960s and closes with the funerals of Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King. Smith reveals a surprising account of little-known dimensions of American social history: the important role of African American funeral directors from the Underground Railroad to the civil rights era. Without a trace of preachiness, Bible Babel makes the intricacies of the Old and New Testaments accessible to general readers of all faiths or none. Kristin Swenson deciphers Bible scholarship for modern readers with gentle good humor that respects the profundity of her subject without taking herself too seriously.

Kathleen Graber, assistant professor of English in the creative writing department at Virginia Commonwealth University, won the 2011 Literary Award for Poetry for The Eternal City. Graber's book suggests the miraculous in ordinary human experience, exploring the interplay among the personal, historical, and philosophical. Graber was named one of five finalists for the National Book Award in the poetry category for The Eternal City, her second collection of poetry. Her poems have appeared in the New Yorker and the American Poetry Review, among other publications, and her first collection, Correspondence, was published in 2006.

The other poetry prize finalists were Michael Chitwood, a freelance writer and lecturer at the University of North Carolina, for Poor-Mouth Jubilee and Leslie Wheeler, professor of English at Washington and Lee University, for Heterotopia. Chitwood's Poor-Mouth Jubilee is a book of stillness and immanence-quiet and perceptive re-visions that reflect a world full of wonder and revelation. The poems' frank, direct effects, reminiscent of those found in the poetry of James Wright, make us aware of the meaning to be found in both sound and silence. Drawing upon the musical textures and metaphorical resonance of Liverpool, as well as the intricacies of form, Leslie Wheeler's book Heterotopia demonstrates how an individual's finely honed memory can illuminate the experience of others.

The judges also selected an honorable mention in poetry category: A Walk in Victoria's Secret by Kate Daniels.

The winners of the People's Choice Awards are In the Company of Others by Jan Karon in the fiction category and The Horse in Virginia by Julie Campbellin the nonfiction category. The finalists for the People's Choice Awards are selected by a panel of independent Virginia booksellers and librarians from the list of books nominated for the Library's Literary Awards. Winners are decided by readers voting online and in libraries. Winners of the People's Choice awards receive $2,500 and an engraved crystal book.

Also honored at this year's Literary Awards was Tom Angleberger for The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, which was selected as the winner of the annual Whitney and Scott Cardozo Award for Children's Literature. The New York Times Sunday Book Review calls The Strange Case of Origami Yoda "a delightful first novel presented as a joint effort between the neatly typed notes of Tommy, a sixth grader, and the scribblings of friends." A juried panel selected five finalists from nominated authors whose works focused on literature for children ages four through eight, with a publication date of 2010. Nominated titles were accepted from the greater mid-Atlantic region. A public vote occurred online and in public libraries throughout central Virginia in July and August.

Lisa Russ Spaar, a professor of English at the University of Virginia, won this year's Carole Weinstein Prize in Poetry. She is the author of seven books of poetry and won the Library of Virginia's poetry prize in 2009 for Satin Cash. The Weinstein Prize, established in 2005, is awarded each year to a poet with strong connections to central Virginia. The annual prize recognizes significant recent contribution to the art of poetry and is awarded on the basis of a range of achievement in the field of poetry. There is no formal application process or competition. Selection and notification of the annual prize is made by a three-member board of curators.

The recipient of the 2011 Library of Virginia Literary Lifetime Achievement Award is Nelson County native Earl Hamner, writer of novels, television shows, and movies and the force behind the semiautobiographical television series The Waltons,

Next year's Literary Awards Celebration will be held on October 20, 2012.

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Iconic Images of Hatch Show Print Fill Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia is pleased to present American Letterpress: The Art of Hatch Show Print opening December 5, 2011 and running through February 4, 2012. The exhibition illustrates the fascinating fusion of art with popular culture and music history. Featuring the work of one of the nation's oldest continuously operating printing shops - Nashville's Hatch Show Print-the exhibition highlights the uniquely vibrant American posters produced to advertise everything from vaudeville shows, state fairs, and stock car races to the Grand Ole Opry, Norah Jones, Elvis Presley, Bela Fleck, Emmylou Harris, and Herbie Hancock.

The exhibition at the Library includes original posters (including authorized restrikes from vintage blocks and contemporary restrikes), hand-carved original wooden printing blocks, text panels, and labels. Some of the work has never been publicly shown.

Founded in 1879 in Nashville, Tennessee, Hatch Show Print is still a working letterpress and design shop, creating posters today using the same letterpress methods as yesterday. Recent Hatch Show Print customers include B. B. King, Neil Young, Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band, The Grateful Dead, and Alan Jackson. Design customers include the New York Times, Wired Magazine, Golf Digest, Anthropologie, Nike, and Taylor Guitars. The posters are bold and colorful with sensational graphics designed to catch the viewer's eye.

Jim Sherraden is manager, chief designer, and archivist at Hatch Show Print, one of America's oldest surviving show poster and design shops. Since 1984 he has overseen its transition from a cultural survivor to a widely recognized graphic design icon and destination for letterpress enthusiasts. He is also the curator of American Letterpress: The Art of Hatch Show Print.

American Letterpress: The Art of Hatch Show Print, an exhibition created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the Country Music Hall of FameŽ and Museum, is supported by America's Jazz Heritage, a partnership of the Wallace Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution.

The exhibition is free and open to the public. There is limited, free parking for exhibition visitors in the Library's underground deck, which is accessible from Eight and Ninth streets. The Library of Virginia is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, excluding state holidays.

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Jersey City Library Returns Stafford County Ledger Taken During Civil War to Library of Virginia

Stafford County Court Records 1749 to 1755

A leather-bound ledger with transcriptions of Stafford County records from 1749 until 1758 has made its way back to Virginia after being taken from the Stafford County Courthouse by Union army Captain William A. Treadwell on March 30, 1863. The volume was transcribed in 1791 by Stafford County deputy clerk John Fox.

John Beekman, assistant manager of the New Jersey Room at the Jersey City Free Public Library, found the ledger while reviewing stored materials for the commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the start of the Civil War.

On October 20 Carl Childs, director of the Local Services Branch at the Library of Virginia, accepted the ledger from officials of the Jersey City Free Public Library on behalf of Barbara Decatur, clerk of the Circuit Court of Stafford County, and Sandra G. Treadway, Librarian of Virginia and State Archivist.

The volume, an order book, which records the many activities of the county court, was removed from Stafford by Captain W. A. Treadwell of the 4th New York Regiment. A note inside the front cover, presumably in Treadwell's hand, states that it was "Taken from Stafford Court House, March 30 1863." The volume was handed down several times over the years before it was presented to the Hudson County Historical Society on an unknown date. The historical society's collection is now a part of the Jersey City Free Public Library's New Jersey Room.

Recognizing that the volume did not fit within the New Jersey Room's collection policy, Beekman contacted the Library of Virginia in order to return the ledger to its rightful home. The volume will be conserved at the Library's in-house conservation lab and then scanned and microfilmed to ensure its preservation. Scanned images will be presented to the Stafford County Circuit Court clerk's office so that the citizens of the county will have ready access to a volume long-thought lost.

This ledger is a particularly important volume since many of Stafford County's pre-Civil War county court records were lost to vandalism or theft during the Civil War. Only a few volumes that record deeds, court orders, and wills still exist. This latest "rediscovery" gives hope that additional Virginia records were taken as souvenirs rather than destroyed and that more of Virginia's treasures will return home.

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Connect with Us

On November 7, Connect with Us, an exhibition exploring how the Library of Virginia uses social media to engage and encourage the community, opens at the Library. The exhibition will run through September 15, 2012. New acquisitions and unusual items from our collections will be displayed and visitors will be encouraged to post comments about the materials and their experiences at the Library. Each month throughout the exhibition's run we will feature a different social media outlet. We encourage you to "like" us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (@LibraryofVA), read our blogs, check our photos on Flickr, and see videos on our YouTube channel. We would love to hear from you!

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Civil War 150 Legacy Project Coming to Your Area

Archivists from the Library of Virginia with the Civil War 150 Legacy Project are crisscrossing the state scanning privately held letters, maps, diaries, daguerreotypes, and records of the Civil War. The Civil War 150 Legacy Project: Document Digitization and Access is a multi-year initiative to locate, digitize, and provide worldwide access to the private documentary heritage of the American Civil War era located throughout Virginia. Working with local sesquicentennial committees established by the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, the Civil War 150 Legacy Project is preserving the rich historical record found in Civil War manuscript materials.

Laura Drake Davis and Renee Savits, the Civil War 150 Legacy Project archivists, are interested in materials that reflect the scope of the Civil War period-records of African Americans, women, and pacifists, as well as soldiers, politicians, and the business community. Items must be owned by the individual presenting the materials for digitization.

In next few weeks the CW 150 Legacy Project will hold scanning events in Shenandoah County (November 4-5), Albemarle/Charlottesville (November 5), Halifax County (November 11­-12), and Southampton County (November 14). Check the schedule at to find out when the team is coming to your area for scanning events.

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Pew Research Center Announces New Research Initiative to Study the Changing Role of Public Libraries and Library Users in the Digital Age

The Pew Research Center will study how the role of public libraries is changing in the digital age and how library patrons' needs and expectations are shifting. The new research is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with a three-year, $1.4 million investment and will be conducted by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.

Through national surveys, a series of focus groups in a diverse mix of communities, and special surveys of library patrons, the Pew Internet Project will examine how library users' habits and tastes are changing in the age of e-books, widespread mobile connectivity, and the existence of vast digital collections.

"Few institutions have been more challenged by the rise of the Internet and mobile connectivity than the local library," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet Project. "Many libraries have responded with innovations and sweeping overhauls in the way they deliver on their missions. With the Gates Foundation's support, the Pew Internet Project will provide an in-depth, data-driven analysis of how libraries are responding to technology trends, and how communities' expectations are changing at a time when library functions are in flux."

"As technologies advance, people in our communities increasingly rely on digital information to find opportunities to improve their lives. We must make sure public libraries, which are critical community technology hubs, keep pace with that change and give patrons access to the resources they need," said Jill Nishi, deputy director of U.S. Libraries and Special Initiatives at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We hope this research series will help community leaders and library staff better evolve services in today's digital landscape."

The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that provides information on the issues, attitudes, and trends shaping America and the world. The center conducts public opinion polling, demographic studies, media content analysis, and other empirical social science research. It does not take positions on policy issues. It is an independently operated subsidiary of the Pew Charitable Trusts.

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McInnis to Discuss Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade

Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade

On the evening of December 8, Maurie D. McInnis, professor and associate dean for the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia, will discuss and sign Slaves Waiting for Sale, her innovative book featuring the work of Eyre Crowe, a young British artist. On March 3, 1853, Crowe visited a slave auction in Richmond and later used his sketches of the scene to develop a series of illustrations and paintings, including Slaves Waiting for Sale, Richmond, Virginia. His paintings captured the complexities and pathos of American slavery.

In her new book, McInnis illuminates not only how Crowe's abolitionist art was inspired and made, but also how it influenced the international public's grasp of slavery in America. With almost 140 illustrations, Slaves Waiting for Sale brings a fresh perspective to the American slave trade and abolitionism.

In 2014 McInnis will curate an exhibition at the Library of Virginia exploring and examining the development of the visual culture of slavery based on the Eyre Crowe paintings and illustrations. Using art and artifacts, the exhibition will examine the complexities of the slave trade, including Virginia's role as a mass exporter of enslaved people through the Richmond market and the inner workings of the market itself-the most profitable economic activity in the entire state and possibly the nation.

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Cote and Halliday Win Lewis Award

Donna Cote, director of Central Rappahannock Regional Library, and John Halliday, director of Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, are the winners of the 2011 Elizabeth M. Lewis Award, named for the former director of public library development at the Library of Virginia and awarded yearly by the Virginia Public Library Directors Association. Also nominated for the award was Laurie S. Roberts, director of the Tazewell County Public Library. The winners were selected by a vote of public library directors in Virginia.

Under Cote's direction Central Rappahannock Regional Library has been recognized as one of the most creative and customer-oriented library systems in Virginia. Over the years, she has worked with her staff to produce flyers, brochures, videos, and other public relations materials that have been effective with the legislature and governing bodies across the state. Cote has been active in professional activities, serving with distinction on numerous committees, and has been a mentor to her staff and to others in the library profession.

John Halliday is a gifted, positive, and enthusiastic leader who has exemplified calm and steady leadership while addressing the issues confronting the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library and libraries in general. Halliday focuses on individuals and gives equal attention to everyone, whether a friend of many years or the newest director of the smallest library in the state. His work on the Virginia Library Association's legislative committee, his demonstration of the Library Use Value Calculator to his colleagues, and his relationship with authors in the Charlottesville area have had a positive and lasting impact on Virginia's libraries and librarians.

In October 2009, the Virginia Public Library Directors Association voted to establish the Elizabeth M. Lewis Award. The award recognizes a Virginia library director who most embodies the enthusiasm, nurturing spirit, and love of libraries that characterized Libby Lewis. Over the course of her 33-year career in libraries, Lewis was involved in nearly every aspect of public and institutional library activity. As a Library of Virginia consultant, she traveled across the state counseling library directors, trustees, and Board members; attending library dedications and board meetings; and conducting workshops. Lewis retired from the Library of Virginia in 2009.

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2011 Jefferson Cup Awards Announced

Beverly Gherman's book Sparky: The Life and Times of Charles Schultz took top honors by winning the 2011 Jefferson Cup from the Youth Services Forum of the Virginia Library Association. Gherman focuses on how Charles "Sparky" Schulz's love of drawing shaped his life and how he used his own life experiences to shape his work. Like his beloved character Charlie Brown from his Peanuts comic strip, Schultz was not always successful in what he did. What Gherman's biography drives home is that, in spite of his flaws and setbacks, Schulz was tenacious, self-deprecating, and hard working, and these traits played a large part in his success. Sparky is written for readers in grades five and up.

The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery by Steve Sheinkin and Ruth and the Green Book (also a finalist for the 2011 Cardozo Award) by Calvin Alexander Ramsey were named honor books by the Jefferson Cup Committee. The committee also recognized the following as Series Worthy of Note: Sterling Biographies (for Chief Joseph by Lorraine Jean Hopping and Sacagawea by Emma Carlson Berne) and Six Questions of American History by Lerner Publishing (for How Did Slaves Find a Route to Freedom?: And Other Questions about the Underground Railroad by Laura Hamilton Waxman and Why Did English Settlers Come to Virginia?: And Other Questions about the Jamestown Settlement by Candice Ransom).

The Jefferson Cup Award honors a distinguished American biography, work of historical fiction, or history book for young people. The Youth Services Forum of the Virginia Library Association has presented this award annually since 1982. Through the award, the Youth Services Forum seeks to promote reading about America's past; to encourage the quality writing of United States history, biography, and historical fiction for young people; and to recognize authors in these disciplines. The Jefferson Cup Committee selects the winning title. The committee has nine members: a chairperson (selected by the previous year's committee) and one person from each of VLA's six regions selected by the current chair, the chair of the previous year's Jefferson Cup Committee, and the outgoing chairperson of the Youth Services Forum. All committee members must be members of VLA.

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Defend the Freedom to Read: It's Everybody's Job

On the heels of Banned Books Week this year, the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom is kicking off a new awareness campaign to increase the reporting of challenges to library materials.

"We estimate that only 20 to 25 percent of challenges-formal requests that library materials be removed or restricted-are ever reported," said Barbara Jones, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). "As libraries across the country and the world conclude their Banned Books Week celebrations, we're reaching out to encourage anyone to contact our office when censorship efforts occur."

Defend the Freedom to Read: It's Everybody's Job is an awareness campaign conceived by librarian and library activist Andy Woodworth. OIF has collaborated with Woodworth and commissioned the creation of original art to help spread the word. Inspired by the artwork and public safety notices of World War II, these images are freely available as digital downloads and come in all different sizes for a variety of uses. OIF encourages librarians to use the images as computer wallpaper, hang them in a staff lounge, print them out as bookmarks, post them as a blog banner, or even use one as your icon on your favorite social media Web site.

"This is a request to the library community for something that all librarians can understand: we need more information!" Jones said. "With increased reporting, OIF will be able to better track challenges and removal patterns so as to advise members of the profession. In the same way that libraries collect circulation numbers to track usage, our office seeks to improve how we track instances of books that are currently being challenged and those that are being removed. Reporting a challenge or removal can be done by name or anonymously. The important thing is that people take the time to submit a report. This campaign will help raise awareness that OIF records challenges, provides support to those facing them, and encourages anyone to contact our office about these issues."

Challenges reported to ALA by individuals are kept confidential and used only for statistical purposes. Challenges or removals can be reported either online or by paper form. For more information, please visit the "Reporting a Challenge" page online at

-submitted by Angela Maycock, Office of Intellectual Freedom

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